Running counter to the trend of several other Illinois mold shops, Airo Tool & Manufacturing Co. is moving to a new location to boost space for current capacity.
The manufacturer of tools for extrusion blow molding plans to move from Marengo, Ill., where it has been for a dozen years, to a new building it bought about 15 miles west in Belvidere, Ill.
The new location, near Rockford, Ill., will double the size of the production floor and give Airo Tool a larger labor pool to draw from, said sales manager Alan Brown.
While a bevy of Chicago-area mold makers have closed or downsized operations in the past two years, Airo Tool has continued to grow, Brown said. The company recently purchased three computer numerically controlled machining centers, but needed more room than what is available in its 6,000-square-foot plant, Brown said.
``We could hardly move here anymore,'' Brown said in a Sept. 10 telephone interview.
``The business has grown so much over the past year that we ran out of spots for machinery. Things have just been going gangbusters.''
The company plans to complete the move to Belvidere in October and add four employees, Brown said. The new facility has 12,000 square feet.
The company makes tooling for plastic bottles and has expanded to offer a variety of mold components, including a recent line of screw-in pins and bushings, Brown said. The tool shop also makes striker plates, blow tips and cutting sleeves among its products.
The company is owned by the Abramat family and was started 33 years ago by Gerhard and Heide Abramat in their Barrington, Ill., garage. Heide and her son Roy Abramat continue to run the company.